What is adult abuse?

Definition of abuse

  • Control and exploitation- imbalance of power
  • infringement or violation of human and civil rights
  • Can be unintentional
  • A single or repeated act

Who might abuse?

Anyone can abuse but most commonly abuse is perpetrated by:

  • A family member
  • People in positions of power (doctors, teachers, religious leaders, politicians)
  • Organised criminals (rogue traders, scammers)
  • Staff in health and care sectors
  • Neighbours and ‘friends’ 

Categories of abuse

  • Physical 
  • Domestic abuse
  • Sexual
  • Psychological or emotional
  • Financial/Material abuse
  • Complex safeguarding
  • Modern Slavery
  • Organisational or institutional abuse
  • Discriminatory abuse
  • Neglect or acts of omission
  • Self-neglect
  • Radicalisation

What to do if you’re concerned about an adult

Anyone can witness, or become aware of, information that suggests abuse is occurring. It is important that we all understand what to do, and where to get help and advice. It is vital that we all remain vigilant on behalf of those unable to protect themselves. This will include:

  • knowing about different types of abuse and neglect and their signs
  • supporting adults to keep them safe
  • knowing who to tell about suspected abuse or neglect
  • supporting adults to think and weigh up the risks and benefits of different options when exercising choice and control.

If you are a practitioner and you become aware of adult abuse you should report your concern

If your concern is regarding someone who works or volunteers with an adult who has care and support needs, please refer to our Person in Positions of Trust policy here: PiPoT Policy